Yukon knocked from top 10 for mining

The Yukon has lost its top-10 score in the Fraser Institute's annual ranking of worldwide mining jurisdictions.

The Yukon has lost its top-10 score in the Fraser Institute’s annual ranking of worldwide mining jurisdictions.

In the latest report, released this week, the Yukon is now considered the 19th most attractive place in the world for mining companies to invest, down from eighth last year.

The report polls mining companies, asking them a series of questions about whether they’d consider investing in 112 jurisdictions across the world. For each question, the jurisdictions are ranked from most to least appealing for investors.

“The greatest drops between years was in uncertainty concerning the interpretation and enforcement of existing regulations, political stability and for the taxation regime,” said Alana Wilson, one of the report’s authors.

The Yukon ranked 79th on the undisputed land claims index, with 58 per cent of the survey respondents saying the territory’s land claims issues are a deterrent to investment, 18 per cent calling it a strong deterrent and three per cent saying they wouldn’t spend any money here.

Yukon placed 25th on existing environmental regulations, below Zambia, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Wyoming and Suriname.

In terms of its legal system, however, the Yukon did much better. Only five countries scored better than the Yukon, and only one was deemed better on the taxation question.

Two other strong areas were the geological database, where the Yukon placed 13th with 65 per cent of respondents saying it was encouraging investment, and security, with 67 per cent saying it encouraged investment.

The highest ranking the territory earned relative to other jurisdictions was on its trade barriers, which respondents said were the third-least restrictive in the world, behind only Utah and Minnesota.

Samson Hartland, executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, said he was disappointed with the rankings.

“You can’t ignore the elephant in the room. I’m down here at (the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto) and it’s what everyone is talking about. The political stability, it’s interesting words that they used. That’s land-use planning and certainty in the Yukon,” Hartland said.

Uncertainty created by the lawsuits between the Yukon government and affected First Nations is scaring away investment, he said. Specifically, Hartland pointed to the court battles over the government’s plans for the Peel watershed and the proposed Atlin campground.

“We’re going to call to bring some semblance of stability to the conversation… To have it play out in the courts is a delicate situation, and we want to encourage people to get to the table and just talk,” he said.

With much of the territory’s land-use planning unfinished, the government can’t afford to be dragged to court every time there is a dispute, said Hartland.

Mines minister Scott Kent said he was also disappointed in the rankings, but he is encouraged that the areas needing improvement are ones the government has the power to change.

“I haven’t had a chance to review the whole study, but it’s obviously disappointing. It takes an awful lot of work to gain that reputation and work your way up to a top 10 ranking, such as we had,” Kent said.

When it comes to relationships with First Nations, Kent disputes that those relationships have soured.

“I think we have good relationships on a number of files. Obviously there are some challenges that we face in dealing with specific aspects with respect to First Nations relations. We’re always looking to improve there,” he said.

But Opposition Leader Liz Hanson said this is all a sign of a bigger problem.

“The problems we’re facing here in the territory is a government that has said pretty clearly to the Yukon and the world that the main pillar of their economic development vision is mining, and then they’ve done everything possible to thwart the success of that mining,” Hanson said.

When two Yukon First Nations announced they were suing the government over its handling of the Peel watershed land use planning, Premier Darrell Pasloski told CBC that allowing the courts to settle the dispute is sometimes required.

“We truly are leading not only the country, but in a lot of respects leading the world on this, and that’s why sometimes you have opportunities where there is disagreement and that resorts to going to the courts to create that certainty,” he said.

“It speaks volumes when you have a premier who doesn’t see the irony in saying something like ‘lawsuits bring certainty,’” said Hanson. “The reality is that lawsuits don’t do anything other than drive away the certainty we thought we had all created through devolution and land claims.”

Contact Jesse Winter at

jessew@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the RCMP’s traffic services team examine police markers on Range Road after a six-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle near the Takhini Arena in Whitehorse on Oct. 25. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Six-year-old hit by vehicle near Takhini Arena

Police were called to the scene around 12:15 p.m. on Oct. 25

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. Two new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Watson Lake over the weekend. The cases are connected to three others in the community previously announced by officials on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two additional COVID-19 cases in Watson Lake bring total up to five

Individuals with symptoms and connections to the three other cases were tested over the weekend

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Teagan Wiebe, left, and Amie Wiebe pose for a photo with props during The Guild’s haunted house dress rehearsal on Oct. 23. The Heart of Riverdale Community Centre will be hosting its second annual Halloween haunted house on Oct. 30 and 31, with this year’s theme being a plague. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Plague-themed haunted house to take over Heart of Riverdale for Halloween

A plague will be descending upon the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre… Continue reading

Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Oct. 21. Elected officials in the Yukon, including all 19 members of the legislature, are backing the right of Mi’kmaq fishers on the East Coast to launch a moderate livelihood fishery. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)
Yukon legislature passes motion to support Mi’kmaw fishery

“It’s not easy, but it’s also necessary for us to have these very difficult conversations”

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Most Read